Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company
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Ratings: 10,188 | Reviews: 3,135 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by flannelman808:
4.38/5 rDev -5.8%
"...PLINY THE ELDER IS A HISTORICAL FIGURE, DON'T MAKE THE BEER INSIDE THIS BOTTLE ONE..."
A Long awaited new vs ever so slightly old Pliny review awaits...
Ok, so I have wrapped up two different batches of Pliny the Elder in paper towels so that they are indistinguishable. One of two bottles is the most recent batch released, (and is the most recently available in Los Angeles) and is likely a bit less than two weeks old. The other bottle is the previous released batch, which is something like twice as old as the first (still not very old, even by IPA standards). I did not commit the specific bottling dates to memory and don't want to remove the blindfolds which make each a mystery, So I will post them once I'm done reviewing both bottles in full.
This review is going to both incorporate a review of Pliny the elder, and the effect of aging over a short period of time. This effect, which may or may not be perceivable to this not so humble reviewers palate. The warnings on bottles, and quote from said bottles at the top of this review, would lead one to believe that Russian River feels something distinctly negative happens over time to this beer. This is true of all IPA's but to what extent and for how long does a beer stay worthy???
---Ok bottle #One (again I have no idea which it is)---
A: let it be known there is light. Pliny is crazy bright and is not unlike petrified amber. The air however isn't trapped, It rises up and releases a pretty nice looking head. The foam is just barely off white and has ok retention. In it's wake it leaves a spiderweb lacing.
S: The nose is of fallen pine needles first and foremost. While it has a fairly pronounced bouquet It's mostly of green and forest floor aromas. I will say as this warms it presents a white grapefruit like perfume in addition.
T: A refreshing quaff... much more citrus is pronounced on the tongue than ones nose would lead them to expect. White grapefruit which reminds me a little bit of Haribo white grapefruit sour candy minus the sour. Green and brown pine lingers on the finish and resonates for some time after the citrus is gone. In the end a touch of subtle sweet malty caramel flavors adds it's hand in this beers complexity and helps balance the more astringently dry nature of this beer.
M: Sticky, Prickly.
O: I don't think I really need to comment here. This is a fantastic beer and to which all other DIPA's are put up against. Finishing with more perceivable dryness than sweetness, yet leaves room for a little bit of sweet balancing malt.
---Blind Bottle # Two---
Ok, with a bit of a palate cleanse its on to Bottle #2 (I've no idea which is which still):
A: So a similar looking beer sits before me. I would dare say however that its just a touch lighter in color (on the yellow side of the spectrum). Other than that it's tit for tat.
S: Once again the pine needle is in the lead. Citrus peel is an a bit of an afterthought as it warms up though it's present. I do feel that this one is less pronounced on the nose and I sense a bit of caramel in the aroma as well which was not noteworthy in the first pour.
T: As the nose aroma would have had me believe The big difference factor I find between the two is the presence of malty sweet flavors. Brown pine needles (not green and brown, just brown and dried) and caramel malty granola sweet flavors are markedly more present. The citrus present in glass one is only a faint afterthought.
M: Smooth with a tickle.
O: All and all this still carries most of the flavor of glass #1 but lacks the PHAP-ZHOU perceived drying quality which is so important in this style. I have to assume at this point all of this is due to the limited aging potential of hops and that this is the older brew. Still bitter overall, I am being very specifically picky, all of this is not to say the older version is totally bad. It is to say that I think it is different in ways which are felt by the drinker, and could easily lead to a misperception as to just how good this stuff can be.
Ok... Am I a total fool????
Bottle one date: 100411 or exactly 12 days old. AMAZING!
Bottle two date: 091611 Exactly 1 month old!!! wow I didn't look at the actual date on the bottle before pouring but it was bottled a month ago today.
I have always been curious as to the breaking points of IPA's. At what point has a beer changed in a good or bad way to the palate of its taster. IPA's are more susceptible than just about anything to father time but I find different beers of style tend to remain "good" for varying amounts of time. Why and which? More to come...
Note: Final number ratings directly relate to the better and most fresh of two (10/04/11) bottles.
10-17-2011 05:11:27 | More by flannelman808
More User Reviews:
4.88/5 rDev +4.9%
Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. III Issue I:
One of the best labels in the world and a great wake-up call for overzealous über beer geeks who feel the need to age any and all beers. "Drink fresh, do not age! Pliny the Elder is a historical figure, don't make the beer inside this bottle one ... Age your cheese, not your Pliny ... Pliny is for savoring, not for saving!" Love it. "Respect hops, consume fresh!"
Light honey amber in color, topped with a big, fluffy, creamy white head with a ton of glass stickage. Massive ripe pineapple aroma in the nose, with pine, mint, sappy resins, powdery pale malts and a hint of alcohol. Silky smooth, medium bodied, with a very firm consistency and slightly chewy back. Hop presence is artfully chaotic. Nice prickly stab on the palate up front, semisharp bitterness, grassy, zesty grapefruit, deep smacking of ripe pineapple and pine. Juicy fruitiness, notes of apple and pear too. Dry middle with suggestions of chalky aspirin. Bready malts, soft and sweet, provide a nice backboard for the hops. Oily and ashy hop resins stick to the palate and follow through into a dry, bitter linger. Alcohol becomes sentient as the beer warms, speaking to us in tongues. And despite this, remains insanely drinkable.
One of the best DIPAs on planet Earth, ever.
09-20-2010 19:39:48 | More by BeerAdvocate
4.5/5 rDev -3.2%
NOTE: If you are drinking this beer about 2 months past its freshness date then you are not getting the full experience.
500ml brown bottle with a bottled on freshness date.
Mildly hazed orange golden color, solid two fingers of head leave a nice crowning of sticky lace that leaves thick rings on the glass. Big hop aroma of evergreen, clementine rind, pineapple and fresh cut grass. Super smooth with a modest amount of carbonation. Prickly spicy hop bitterness with citric, mint and wild flower flavors that linger far into the aftertaste. Hint of nutty yeast and a big handful of biscuity malt are thrown at the palate and actually shows that this beer has balance. Full bursting orange grove flavor. The 8.0% stays hidden for the most part yet does yield a slow warmth about half way through the pint, a bit of ripe tropical fruitiness within from the esters. Finishes with that long drawn out hop bitterness and flavor as it leans towards the dry side.
Epic, a deserving epic as well even with all of the hype surrounding PTY. Pliny The Elder is the poster-boy for Double IPAs. Every hophead needs to put this on their must try list.
02-24-2010 02:55:40 | More by Jason
3.93/5 rDev -15.5%
Finally....finally I have a bottle of this beer.
Bottled on 2/17/11,fresh as well.Poured into an imperial nonic a rich burnt orange tinged golden with a large blooming white that left broken chunks of lace behind as it settled into a frothy mass.Much lighter aromas than expected,resin and grapefruit mixed with a firm dryer malt base,a little iron is in there as well.Resiny and bitter flavors are the main component flavor-wise,again the malt base is dry wich is good with way to many of the style to sweet.The alcohol is incredibly well hidden mainly because the sweetness is in check,its a very good beer but I gotta say I have had better of the style.While I like Hopslam,Dreadnaught,Oracle,and Hercules better, its a good beer,worth the rating?....Not so sure.
03-17-2011 20:23:20 | More by oberon
4.47/5 rDev -3.9%
Appearance - This came out a hazy, beautiful orange in color with a big, hefty white head.
Smell - This fella has a monster hop profile. The Pliny is piney, that's for sure. There actually seems to be a couple variations of pine smell in here along with some strong floral notes that carry that raw "off the vine" hop fragrance. The citrus hops are rich and sweetish.
Besides all that, this puppy has a huge malt profile. They aren't really toasted at all but have more of a caramel character. All and all this thing is packing quite a wallop!
Taste - This is a big, bountiful DIPA, full of all the delicious flavors from the aroma. All of the hops work in harmony to provide an amazing hop experience with every sip. The malts don't let up for a minute, either. The thick, caramel malts remind me of the 90 Minute. Everything is big yet very well balanced, in a massive hop-head kind of way.
Mouthfeel - This is big but I'd still call it medium-bodied. It is slickly smooth in the cheeks and dangerously easy to drink.
Drinkability - This goes down like none other. The Younger is bigger but doesn't go down as easy as this. At 8.0 ABV I'm sure this has snuck up on many a Russian River patron over the years.
Update - I first reviewed this in 2006 and had a chance to sample it from the bottle again in 2010. It is raw this year and has a monstrous pine aroma. The flavor will cause the uninitiated to dial 911. As massive as the hops are in this beer, to me, still as I said four years ago, it is the malt backbone that separates this man from the boys. I've seen a few examples like this of hop overkill, but this is the only really big monster hop beer that tries to be a true, complete, well-rounded beer if you know what I mean. Most won't even notice the malt base as this one is so hoppy, but it's that almost unnoticeable malt backbone that completes the package.
03-25-2006 01:33:17 | More by RoyalT
4.24/5 rDev -8.8%
I had two on tap in Philly. Very excited when the waitress mentioned it, because like many, I thought I might never get to taste it. This beer has a golden-red, rather clear hue. A small white head. An amazing citrus smell that you know is gonna taste good, just from one sniff. Taste is very crisp, refreshing, and citrusy. Grapefruit mostly, with medium body. Could drink a lot of these in a single sitting. I still give an edge to Gandhi Bot as slightly better tasting, because as a local, I have my biases =), but I liked Pliny so much, I thought I would add to the chorus of complimentary reviews. Worth the hype in my opinion, of course I was lucky and didn't have to wait in a line or trade to get a taste, very fortunate on my part. Right bar, right time.
04-01-2013 15:25:44 | More by braugon
4.3/5 rDev -7.5%
On tap at Toronado. Bright amber orange with a full white head. Head lasts well for an IPA. Body is medium to full with intermittent carbonation attacks. Aroma comes on complexly featuring an appealing amount of pineapple on top of a subtle pine/juniper base. By far, however, the pine is overshadowed by citrus juice, peaches, and grapefruit. The aroma could be described as candy like if it didnt trigger receptors in your brain that say: Warning Hop Blast Acomin! Feels tangy and acidic with a citrus medley blast of lime, lemon, grapefruit, and nectarine. Perfectly balanced (for the style) with a sweet malt base and only residual pine oils in the flavor. More delicate then expected. My tongue is not destroyed after two glasses. I guess that makes this one a drinker.
05-22-2006 19:36:53 | More by DaPeculierDane
4.93/5 rDev +6%
This was the perfect double I.P.A., no question about it. The beer pours a hazy golden color with not much head. I found it to have more carbonation that some of the other double I.P.A.'s I've had. Pliny gives off an incredible aroma of pine with barely a hint of fruit. It was a little too cold for our first few tastes so the hop explosion was very intense, but as the beer dropped in temperature you could taste every element to this beer perfectly. An initial hop explosion that leaves a citrus, grapefruit, taste lingering behind with absolutely no undesirable aftertaste. The only thing that I can find wrong with this beer is that it is incredibly difficult to find. Places were sold out of it or had limited quantities. If you are ever on the west coast, this beer is a must!
05-28-2011 03:39:26 | More by Supersweetshirts
4.88/5 rDev +4.9%
Finally got to try this one thanks to Johnny Ramirez. Can't thank him enough! This has been on my wants list as long as I can remember. Pours a perfect amber color with amazing clarity - something not necessarily expected from a DIPA. Very clean looking with a long-lasting head, super white, thick, and foamy.
The aroma is, bluntly put, motherfucking outrageous. Simply amazing. Heavy ass pineapple and citrus aroma, right along with orange zest and lemon. Hops-to-the-walls; piney, leafy, floral, perfume-like. This amazing balance on the nose between sweet-bitter and fruit-hops is incredible. The pineapple kills me - powerful and pure, not fake or artificial in any way. A total forest of hops, trees, pines, fruits, mangos, pineapples, etc. I want a goddamn Pliny the Elder air freshener.
The taste starts off with an up-front smash of hops; wet, bitter, and assertive, but not harsh, overpowering, or off-putting. These hops are perfect in every way. Piney, oily, and resinous. Alcohol presence is noticeable but never intrudes and is always welcomed. Heavy malt backbone balances everything perfectly. The sweetness from the pineapples and mangos are well-timed and synchronize perfectly with the hops. The flavor profile on this beer is executed eloquently and masterfully. Medium-thick body, mild stickiness, perfect carbonation.
I was scared the hype would ruin this for me. How can a beer seriously live up to the ridiculous amount of hype that Pliny regularly gets? Not only did it live up to those expectations, it surpassed them. I promised myself I wouldn't be swayed by the reviews and wouldn't "say I liked it, just to like it" - but it's impossible. There's a reason this beer is so highly acclaimed. It's ridiculously amazing.
12-10-2012 01:08:26 | More by tectactoe
4.43/5 rDev -4.7%
Deep golden color with a sticky off-white head that leaves nice lacings.
The aroma very intense with a big punch of exotic fruits - grapefruit, pineapple, mango, you name it. Grassy and resiny hop aromas as well, and hints of tobacco. Crisp malts underneath provides a lovely balance.
The flavor is fairly sweet with a nice crisp maltiness of caramel beneath an abundance of hops. Hops, hops and more hops. Great juicy fruit aromas and notes of pine-needles. The finish is bitter and resiny with lingering fresh hop notes.
Big body, smooth mouthfeel with a nice semi-dry finish.
As far as Double IPAs goes, it doesn't get much better than this. Easy to drink is an understatement for this one.
05-21-2010 22:34:30 | More by ricke
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,188 ratings.